FedChoice FCU Reclaims Office From Mother Nature's Wrath

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WASHINGTON, D.C. - There, in the newly opened lobby of FedChoice Federal Credit Union (formerly IR Federal Credit Union), stands a reminder of Mother Nature's power-a life-sized mannequin wearing a rain slicker and boots and toting an umbrella. At its feet are strategically placed puddles on which floats on a tiny replica of Noah's Ark.

OK, so the actual event that triggered this tongue-in-cheek display wasn't really enough to float a boat.

But, said Kevin Roland, sales and service manager of the $220-million FedChoice, it did force the closure of the credit union and the building it was housed in-the Internal Revenue Service headquarters on Constitution Ave.

It all began on a rainy day June 24th that turned into a torrential downpour that lasted for two days and left as much as 25 feet of water in the basement and subbasement.

The credit union was forced to leave until drywall, furniture, carpeting and equipment could be replaced.

Six months later, the thousands of members that used that branch-mostly federal employees and their families-were invited back.

For the most part, Roland said, the credit union was pretty much the same as it was prior to the flood.

Except for the mannequin, a name change and a new charter.

In September 2006, IR Federal became FedChoice to match its new TIP charter.

Previously occupational with a limited membership base, Roland said, this charter allows it to serve some 250,000 federal employees in the Washington corridor.

No question, said Karen Sandor, executive vice president of FedChoice, "We are thrilled to be home again, this time on solid ground." Sandor said she wouldn't mind another flood, "But this time, we hope it will be a flood of new members."

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